Football: World Cup-bound Pinays have busy schedule for rest of 2022

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2022 07:07 PM

The Philippine women's national football team will be back in action in the Southeast Asian Games. AFC photo.
The Philippine women's national football team will be back in action in the Southeast Asian Games. AFC photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- The rest of 2022 will be action-packed for the Philippine women's national football team as they start to prepare for their campaign in the FIFA Women's World Cup next year.

The team concluded a historic campaign in the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 on Thursday with a 2-0 loss to South Korea in the semifinals. Despite the result, they are assured of a spot in the 2023 Women's World Cup after beating Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

The Filipinas will be back in action just three short months after the continental cup, as they will compete in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

According to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), they will also take part in the AFF Women's Championship that will be held in Manila in July, and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.

"These are the three tournaments lined up this year for the women's team," PFF president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta said at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum this week. 

"This will be part of the preparations for the Women's World Cup 2023," he added.

Araneta is hopeful that the core of the team that competed in the Women's Asian Cup will also suit up in the SEA Games, where the Philippines has yet to win gold in football.

"In the SEA Games, we'll be facing Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, which are ranked higher than us. It's also a good gauge on how the team will progress," he noted. "Siguro naman, we just have to explain that to the players."

They are also working on the contract extensions for Alen Stajcic and his staff, with Araneta optimistic that they will be back to work with the team for the SEA Games, the AFF Championship, and the Asiad.

While the PFF has yet to announce concrete plans regarding the next steps for the team, the federation also assured that they are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they will have a fine showing in the Women's World Cup.

"We will continue to prepare our team for the World Cup," said PFF secretary-general Atty. Ed Gastanes. "The Philippine flag should be flying high and proud and mighty in the World Cup 2023 in Australia."

"The PFF and all its sponsors will really leave no stone unturned just to prepare the team, para mabigyan ng laban ang ating koponan para sa karangalan ng ating bansa," he guaranteed.